There’s something a little naughty about an affogato that speaks to the kid in all of us. But just because the idea is a bit retro doesn’t mean that there aren’t fun new ways to serve it up. From cheeky, crunchy toppings, to specialty ice creams or cold-drip, the affogato is no longer just a coffee with a dollop of ice cream. As the surge of coffee appreciation races across our city in the wake of the third wave of coffee, the humble affogato has benefitted from the coffee focus.
“I’ve never been a huge affogato fan,” says Toby Wilson of Wedge Espresso in Glebe. “Bad ones can be so terrible, but because we use cold drip coffee, it doesn’t go bitter.” Having played around a bit with the idea of the affogato, the boys have also added toasted sourdough breadcrumbs to their new drink, giving their affogato sweetness followed by a toasty crunch, adding texture to the experience.
At Dose Espresso in Willoughby, Sam Gabrielian and his team serve their affogato hot, over gelato. “We like to change it up every month, just to keep it interesting,” says Gabrielian. Right now they’re serving their house coffee over salted peanut choc chip gelato, making the affogato encounter like a snickers bar with a coffee kick.
But a good affogato doesn’t have to be about the new and unusual. Sometimes it’s simply about balance. At Mecca Espresso, they’re serving up affogato old school. Always looking for the right balance, the team is constantly working on sourcing the right milk for their coffees and have even been known to host cheese and coffee pairings (which included a Roquefort ice cream from Gelato Messina), but they’ve discovered that sometimes you just can’t beat the original. As a result, the secret here is excellent house coffee served over simple vanilla ice cream that is packed tight to resist instant melting with the hot coffee.
“Just an ice cream scoop with hot coffee has too much surface area,” says Sam Sgambellone. “It’s the little things that make a good affogato – it’s got to be good coffee to start with – and we do a double shot with a shorter pull to maximise the sweetness and get the balance right.”
So, whether you’re into simplicity when it comes to your coffee and ice cream, or you’re after something with a little bit of novelty factor, here’s some of the best places to scoop up an affogato.
The cream of the affogato crop:
At the Wedge, affogatos are cold drip served with vanilla ice cream and scattered with house made sourdough breadcrumbs. The fun thing is the decisive crunch of the unsweetened breadcrumbs that leave a toasty finish. The chunky nature of the crumbs helps them to keep their crunch and the cold drip coffee avoids bitterness.
Here, it’s house coffee served with gelato. The trick is that the gelato flavour changes every month. In the past, there’s been vanilla and pistachio, but right now it’s salty peanut and choc chip gelato, served with a double shot of hot, house espresso, making it taste like a coffee Snickers bar. It’s a cheeky twist on the otherwise traditional drink.
Straight-up traditional – they don’t mess with it at Mecca. A double shot of hot coffee with a shorter pull to maximise sweetness and cold vanilla ice cream that is packed dense to slow the melting process in the coffee. It’s been the same for the last six years because it has a loyal following. Sometimes it’s not worth messing with tradition.
The boys at Sample serve up their affogatos with shots of their Pacemaker coffee, condensed milk and vanilla gelato made by chef Kenji Maenaka of Izakaya Fujiyama. The effect is a bittersweet milky pool, with an intense creaminess. And it’s named after Kenji.
Campos Coffee is great at the best of times, but if you’re looking for a slightly different take on the affogato experience, here it comes, served with a hefty scoop of Serendipity Belgian white chocolate ice cream. It’s a sweet and bitter match made in heaven.
It’s straight down the line traditional affogato here – hot shots of house coffee, served with a solid ball of vanilla ice cream in a short glass. The almond-heavy shortbread biscuit on the side adds a nutty note to the whole experience.
These guys change it up with every single origin- so you can expect something new and unusual almost weekly. But recently they've served it with elderflower and vanilla bean gelato, as well as played with cold drip and some have been served with strawberry preserve to go with a berryish Etheopian, or house made peanut brittle to go with the nuttier flavours of another. Every new single origin they get is treated differently to bring out its best characters in an affogato. You'll just have to drop in to see what.